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PS30159: Language development

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2015/6
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Psychology
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: ES 80%, OR 20%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • ESSAY (ES 80%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Coursework reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this module you must take PS20107 AND take PS20108
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
The intention of this unit is to:
* To introduce the students to the challenges faced by the child during the course of language development
* To introduce the students the theoretical accounts of child language acquisition and to the experimental and naturalistic study of language development.
* To introduce the students to disorders of child language acquisition and the consequences of language impairments.

Learning Outcomes:
In completing this unit students would be expected to:
* Critically evaluate the theoretical accounts of language acquisition
* Critically examine a number of methods of investigating child language acquisition, including child experimental paradigms, artificial language learning, analysis of child directed speech, and computational modelling.
* Assess and evaluate the cognitive basis behind language acquisition, from segmenting the speech stream, word learning, word production and grammatical learning.
* Discuss the causes, treatment and associated characteristics of children with developmental language disorders.
* Compare and contrast the psychological, social, and biological contributions to the development of language in childhood.


* Comprehensive and scholarly written communication (e.g. essays)
* Concise, time-bound and effective written communication (e.g. briefings / exams)
* Ability to select, summarise and synthesis written information from multiple sources
* Ability to develop rigorous arguments through precise use of concepts and models
* Ability to apply theory into practice
* Ability to select and use appropriate ideas to produce a coherent response to a pre-set question
* Ability to produce work to agreed specifications and deadlines
* Ability to work independently, without close supervision of guidance.


* Describe and evaluate the differing theoretical accounts of language development and their historical contexts
* In the unit we will discuss the time course of infant communication and language development as well as the specific skills (and underlining cognitive processes) involved in language acquisition (speech segmentation, word learning, grammar development)
* Describe and evaluate language acquisition and developmental trajectories of children with developmental language disorders.
* Examining the interplay between biological, socio-cultural, and cognitive factors in child language acquisition.
* Critically evaluate the different techniques of studying child language acquisition; including child experimentations, artificial language learning studies, analysis of child and child directed speech, and computational modelling.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PS30159 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Psychology
* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2015/16 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2016/17 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2015/16.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.